Juan Zapata, general director of the Integrated Security Service ECU 911 (PHOTO/Courtesy).

QUITO – A public security network designed by Chinese engineers has become a strategic tool of Ecuadoran authorities to protect public health and social stability amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Juan Zapata, general director of the Integrated Security Service ECU 911, Ecuador’s integrated emergency service hotline, recently told Xinhua that the Chinese-made technological platform that supports the country’s emergency response system has been incredibly important during the global health crisis.

ECU 911 began to operate in Ecuador in 2012 and currently has 16 command centers nationwide. The system integrates police services, video surveillance with thousands of cameras, GPS, geographic information, and a smart analysis of resources, among others.

“Its state-of-the-art technology has been essential for the coordination of institutions in the country, because practically everything has been done through video surveillance,” Zapata said.

The emergency unit assumed new responsibilities after Ecuador entered a health emergency in mid-March, with the technological platform assisting in the implementation of anti-virus measures, including a nationwide quarantine, curfew and vehicular restrictions.

“We are doing this work through our 5,800 video surveillance cameras. In other words, the technology has been put at the service of the national EOC (Emergency Operations Committee) and the regional EOCs for decision-making,” he said.

The information generated by video surveillance serves to provide data for areas wishing to ease restrictions and move towards a “new normal.”

ECU 911’s video surveillance system is essential for managing the health emergency, former Undersecretary of the National Directorate of Social Rehabilitation Ricardo Camacho told Xinhua.

The government has praised the work of ECU 911, with Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno saying that the inter-institutional coordination of ECU 911 and its immediate action “allows us to save lives.”

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As of Friday, Ecuador has reported 38,571 cases and 3,334 deaths from COVID-19.

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